Book Review: Tamesa by Tom Fallwell and A. Hall

Tamesa Front Cover - FINAL S Synopsis: A divided world. A corrupt ruler. A forbidden rite.

Tamesa is a world torn asunder by one man’s lust for power. Herid Mhau, leader of the Ecumenic Order, used the forbidden incantations in the Xusarta Scrolls to summon the infernal Nyeshetari, causing a cataclysm that split Tamesa into two. Now, Herid rules Tamesa’s western hemisphere, seeking the power of the Zayzahrin, to transform himself into a god: immortal and unstoppable.

In a world bereft of heroes, ordinary men and women must endure the inconceivable to attempt the impossible. Tinshu Egraven, a transient thief, denies the existence of gods as he struggles to survive in a world ruled by the Ecumenic Order. After he rescues a mysterious red wolf, he discovers secrets from his past that irrevocably impact his future.

As Herid slaughters innocents to build his army, Tinshu must choose to accept what he’s rejected his entire life. A new family, a new faith, and a new found courage in not only himself, but also the whole of mankind. Who will prevail when the enemy you must first defeat lives within you?

Review: Tamesa is a refreshing new fantasy. I’ve read numerous fantasy books from Tolkien to fledgling writers and it’s good to read something original that’s both entertaining and thought provoking. The beginning was slow, but after a few chapters, the story just took off and kept going until the last word.

This isn’t your usual good vs evil story littered with one fantasy trope after another. There’s romance budding in Tamesa, but the elements around that romance are gripping and the supporting cast is just as interesting as the main characters. The young character Darweshi’s story arc had me in tears in some places. Tamesa is exceptionally well written getting you emotionally involved in the characters lives and struggles. That alone is worth a 5 star rating.

Another thing I enjoyed is how the characters are described. These aren’t the typical cookie cutter handsome and beautiful fantasy creations. They’re ordinary people struggling with physical differences that make them unique and powerful. Such a pleasure to read.

 

Book Review: The Stone Doorway by Cassandra Scherer

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Synopsis: Step out of the mundane and into The Vale, where suddenly bullying, family issues, and homework seem trivial. Can the trio defeat the Calego and return, or will they too remain forever young, forever scared, forever seeking their way home?

Review: The Stone Doorway by Cassandra Scherer is an enjoyable, fast-paced YA fantasy. As we learn about the life of Tori McKenna, we are transported from a typical suburban life of a troubled teenager, into a fantastical world filled with both wonderment and anguish.

For Tori McKenna, life has become routine: a requisite for those who yet breathe, but aren’t necessarily alive. With her only comfort coming from her best friend, Allen, and the freedom she experiences running track, Tori feels more a spectator than a participant in her life. After an abusive relationship and numerous family conflicts, Tori hid within herself, until a boy named Dean rescued her from a dangerous situation. When he returns to enjoy a night of pizza, companionship, and stargazing, something happened that changed their perceptions, and their lives.

The Stone Doorway is a quaint tale, following Tori through a difficult time in her life and the struggle to reclaim, or, discover the true strength that lies within her. After a debilitating journey through a Portis, Tori and her friends must confront not only their inner demons, but the torment of physical and emotional ones as well. With Seth’s assistance, she realizes more about herself and possibilities for the future. Will she embrace what can be and forfeit what was, or lapse back into complacency and fear?

A short and fast-paced read, The Stone Doorway has likable characters, instant love attractions, shifting personalities, teenage angst, and some familiar creatures.  An enjoyable story for young fantasy fans.

Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite

Book Review: The Pellucid Effect by N.W. Moors

51dGbLZEDsL Synopsis: When the Cymrian refugee ship lands on the planet Manx, they find a peaceful people, the Manxi, already living there. The two different peoples live side by side for many annums, but the Cymrians are the only ones who gain powers from the pellucids in the Singing Caverns.

Mic is a Manxi who dreads the idea of his Cymrian friend, Anais, gaining such powers he will not receive. He worries it will cause a rupture in their budding relationship. Anais is convinced Mic will be the first Manxi to receive pellucids but is it just a vain hope?

Are the Singing Caverns sentient? Do they bestow powers when there is a need, and if so, will Mic and Anais use them to confront the enemy who invades Manx?

Review: The Pellucid Effect by N.W. Moors is an interesting fantasy with a touch of science fiction. It begins with a young Manxi hunter, Aaz, pursuing some prey for his impoverished family’s dinner. Most of his planet, Manx, is barren and the inhabitants lead primitive, but happy lives. When Aaz encounters a group of Cymrians that crash land on their planet, all of their lives and futures are irrevocably changed.

All of the Manx inhabitants have pale features and hair, whereas the Cymrians have golden complexions, dark brown eyes, and raven hair. Despite their outward and technological differences, the Manxi Elders and the Cymrian leader, Osiris, reach an amicable agreement to share both resources and the planet. Shortly after establishing this new agreement, Aaz leads Osiris to a cavern system under the mountains, bespeckled with glistening pellucid stones. Until that day, the stones were dormant. Howbeit, they enlivened when Osiris entered, humming and merging with their new Cymrian host.

Each Cymrian entered the cavern, merging with pellucid stones, granting them exceptional magical abilities. With these new powers, Manx began to flourish, establishing guilds for the magic users to discover and use these gifts to better the lives of all people.

The story continues a century later with two interesting new characters: Mic- a Manxi, and Anais- a Cymrian. They are best friends, but both have deeper feelings for the other. Mic is disheartened since they’re approaching a mandated assimilation ceremony in the ‘singing caverns’ that will dictate their futures depending on which pellucid stones merge with them. No Manxi has ever received a stone, and once Anais’ assimilation is complete, she’ll join her guild and Mic will be forced to accept an occupation designated for those deficient of magical abilities.

Though pervaded with foreboding, Mic completes his ritual regardless of what changes will inevitably impact his life. At times, our deepest desires can also lead to our greatest desolation.

The Pellucid Effect is an engaging tale with intriguing, likable characters. The improbable romance Mic and Anais attempt to forge is littered with trials, prejudices, despondency, and angst. The Manxi and Cymrian people never mated outside of their own species. Anais endeavors to change that.

I enjoyed The Pellucid Effect, and read it in one sitting. Although I felt the ending was a bit rushed, I wasn’t dissatisfied. There were some interesting and important characters introduced near the end that I wanted to know more about, and an antagonist that needed more screen time and development. A pleasure to read. 4.5 stars.

Book Review: Abiku: A Battle of Gods by Elizabeth Salawu

AbikuSynopsis: She was called an Abiku, an evil spirit sent to this world to lure men to their doom

Dayo is a bi-racial twenty something year old with a German mom and a Nigerian dad. She has a semi bougie lifestyle, always jetting across the pond between Africa and Europe.

She starts dating her father’s driver in secret after seducing him.

On her return from her cousin’s 21st birthday in Manchester, she tries gbana (crack) for the first time. She finds herself in an alternate realm and thinks she’s hallucinating from using gbana. She doesn’t take anything that happens there seriously as she thinks she’s having a vivid dream. That is until she couldn’t wake up from getting married to a ‘man’ she met in that realm…

Review: Abiku: A Battle of Gods by Elizabeth Salawu is a unique “erotic” paranormal romance set primarily in Nigeria. The protagonist, Ekundayo (Dayo) is of a blended heritage (Nigerian and German) and labeled an Abiku (witch or one born to die) due to not only this, but a particular mark of birth. Apparently, she’s revered as one of the most beautiful Nigerians because she doesn’t look Nigerian. Many girls are envious of her lighter complexion and longer hair and she earns the title ogbanje (a water spirit) because of this unnatural beauty. Throughout the book, this aspect of Dayo is made quite clear.

Abiku: A Battle of Gods by Elizabeth Salawu is a telling of Dayo’s story to discover her true self. Through numerous graphic sexual encounters and some experimental drug use, she finds herself in an alternate reality. Once discovering this “world” and the intriguing man, Akin, who inhabits it, she continues using the gbana (cocaine) to relive the experience. She’s drawn to Akin’s masculinity and fears it all at once. However, her sexual desire for him outweighs her trepidation, and with great alacrity, she agrees to become his mate and they consummate that bond quickly.

Although she has another lover in the “real” world, Henry (a driver for her family), her lust and unnatural urging for Akin consumes her. During the consummation of their marriage, she understands why she’s drawn to him and also discovers the love she has for Henry.

Abiku: A Battle of Gods by Elizabeth Salawu was an interesting story introducing African gods and mythologies that I’ve studied. The use of ‘Pidgin’ English was also a nice touch. Although the title includes “A Battle of Gods,” there isn’t truly a battle; not a physical one. The true battle is within, and Dayo’s choices and future aren’t certain at the book’s end.

Overall, an entertaining short read.

Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite

RF_Official_Reviewer

Book Review: Parallel Worlds by Wynne Stevens

410ZlnXsMwL._SY346_Synopsis: Is our world unique? Many scientists theorize that there are worlds just like our own in other dimensions of time and space. We are not one-of-a-kind individuals. Copies of ourselves exist in these parallel worlds living lives virtually identical to our own. Were we able to travel across the Universe, could we observe ourselves as we live in these parallel worlds?

This story is about one young man who is given the opportunity to “visit himself” and discover how his life might have been under different circumstances. Here in this other world he finds himself as a demented and broken old man, waiting to die after a meaningless and wasted life. It is a shocking discovery. The young man undertakes the responsibility of giving the old man purpose so that he may know love one more time.

Review: Parallel Worlds by Wynne Stevens was an unexpected pleasure to read. It was reminiscent of everything that I loved about The Notebook, yet having its own flare and uniqueness. The narrative starts with our perception of reality and interpretation of that reality. It’s a brief introduction used as a segue into the essence of this wonderfully woven story.

Parallel Worlds is a story of acceptance, love, betrayal, faith, humility, sacrifice, and redemption. It’s a journey to save one soul while simultaneously allowing that positive energy to encompass another’s reality or existence. “Three Seconds” can be a lifetime, depending on what you do with them.

I loved the concept of God used throughout Parallel Worlds. It wasn’t presented in a “preachy” manner, but flowed eloquently, interwoven into the plot to move the narrative forward. I also enjoy the explanation of a Soul Mate, and how allowing yourself to truly merge with one created for you can strengthen and enhance all that you are. Albeit, rejecting that merging of spirit can have detrimental consequences. Just as choosing a path of corruption and greed can send you spiraling down a imperceptible decline of moral turpitude and destruction.

The storytelling from the demented mind of Jason was compelling and extremely touching. It truly caused me to feel for the character as he suffered through his trauma and past mistakes. However, there can always be redemption if you know where to look, and accept it when it’s offered. Emilee’s naivety and loss, made her the perfect counterpart for Jason Abrahms. And their relationship and bond was heartening.

I will definitely be reading more from Wynne Stevens.

Reviewed for Readers’ Favorite

RF_Official_Reviewer

Book Review: Voices in Crystal by Mary Woldering

51gsH52FsyLSynopsis: When Marai, a shepherd living at the foot of Mt. Sinai in the third millennium BC, sings to his goddess one night, he sees a falling star. Tracking it, he discovers a strange vessel containing crystalline entities resembling earthly stones and gems: the Children of Stone. The Children delight in this simple shepherd and his songs of love.

They ask him to host their intelligence; to bring them to the sages and priests who have spent their lives seeking the wisdom of the stars. When he agrees, he is transformed into a godlike being. Still a passionate shepherd at heart, Marai gathers others, like lambs to his fold. His journey to the wise men of ancient Kemet won’t be easy. Things hidden, that wait in darkness, are always there.

Children of Stone Book 1 – Voices in Crystal begins Marai’s journey toward wisdom. Blending history, ancient literature, mythology, classic archetypes, and personal inspiration, Woldering takes the reader on a speculative and emotional journey through the ancient world, and worlds beyond. Marai and his companions, through the help of the Children of Stone, find themselves walking into, and becoming part of ancient legends.

“Years ago, when I began to study mythology, writes the author, it occurred to me that the gods and goddesses never seemed divine. They acted like super-talented people full of very human passions and shortcomings, appearing in different legends like threads woven into the tapestry of time and culture. This series is the story of some of these ‘gods’.”

Review: Children of Stone Book 1 by Mary Woldering is a well-crafted and detailed story encompassing several genres and epochs seamlessly. Author Woldering has an exceptional expression of prose, delivering an almost lyrically impassioned style interwoven with a dense multi-layered plot.

Marai is but one of the fascinating multi-dimensional characters that you will love. Woldering draws upon aspects of histories, ancient cultures, and religious ideologies while inserting moral lessons and challenges that cause you to not only think, but that pull you deeper into this story until you are lost in her fantastical creation.

Highly recommended. This is not only an Epic Fantasy, it is a wondrous story that magically crosses and merges genre lines with seamless perfection. I have ordered the next book in the series.

Book Review: Rites of Heirdron by Newland Moon

Synopsis:  They poisoned his planet, massacred his people, and violated his mother. Now, they’re coming for him.

A bastard prince, born to a dishonored queen, Zrahnz is the last hope of a dying world nearly decimated after a treacherous interplanetary betrayal. He struggles to reclaim his legitimacy as a ruler and for his planet’s survival. But as he endeavors to unravel the manipulations of the past, a debilitating malady threatens his sanity and his life. If he cannot save himself, his planet will succumb to the corrupt intergalactic alliances aligned against them.
 
The irrepressible allure he feels for an Earth-born visitor, Itanya, threatens to overwhelm him, yet through her, Zrahnz discovers the secret that can ease the devastating agony of his illness. Could she be the key to his survival and the future of Triaxeyn?
 
With Q-1 Raydren at his side, and with the influence of the Oracles, he discovers corrupted truths and a forgotten prophecy. But he must make a crucial, life-saving decision, or else his people and everyone he loves could be destroyed.
 
He was denied his rule, denied his birthright, and denied the one truth that would save his life.
 
He wasn’t supposed to survive, he wasn’t supposed to fight, and he wasn’t supposed to receive, the
                                                     RITES OF HEIRDRON

Review: Taking a chance with a new science fantasy author is usually risky, especially in this genre. And although I got a copy of the book as a prize in a contest, reading the first few pages of Rites of Heirdron impressed me enough to really “sink” in its world. And what a world it was–Newland Moon has a knack for crafting scenes, descriptions and tension that can take your breath away, especially those particular scenes with Zrahnz and Itanya in them.

I cannot give away the spoilers here, of course, but let me try to describe some of its best narrative aspects. The story dredges through a number of meaningful issues–it touches upon the issue of race, although in an “interplanetary” sense, but racism nonetheless. It reminds me of those episodes in the original Star Trek in which the central plot navigated these touchy subjects with thrilling finesse, and that’s the same with Rites. It’s not at all preachy with some of its heavier meanings; instead, author Moon subtly slips everything in between the layers of scenes, right along with the story’s forward movement.

I also love the fact that Zhranz is saddled with both a blessing and a curse in many ways. His power is double-edged, like a Damoclean sword hanging over his head, and that fact makes Itanya’s presence all the more meaningful.

I love the twists and turns of this little book. At its best, Rites is delightfully entertaining and should keep you enthralled for many hours. A great read!

Book Review: Darkstorm by M. L. Spencer

51Wv7sLuYDLSynopsis: Faced with an imminent cataclysm that will destroy the magical heritage of their people, a secret conspiracy of mages has resorted to harnessing the powers of Hell to save their legacy. The only mages who can oppose them are Braden and Quin Reis: two brothers with a turbulent past and a caustic relationship. But both Braden and Quin are compromised, harboring terrible and tragic secrets.

Will Braden and Quin be able to prevent the unsealing of the Well of Tears? Or will they fall victim to the darkmages’ sinister manipulations and join their conspiracy?

Review: Darkstorm by M. L. Spencer is an exceptionally well-written fantasy epic with dark undertones. Spencer weaves a compelling tale of intrigue, sacrifice, betrayal, and love all enveloped in a magical world on the fringe of war and disaster.

When a powerful secret order is discovered plotting the morally unthinkable, can a few conflicted and emotionally scarred characters intervene in time to prevent an apocalyptic event that would change the very fabric of their existence? The perfidious depth that some might sink when confronted with their own mortality is hauntingly brought forth within these pages.

Darkstorm encompasses strong themes and multidimensional characters. Of them, the irrepressibly scarred Quin is my favorite. I found myself routing for him in some chapters and scolding him in others. With the rich cast of characters—each flawed, yet each reaching within their depths to accomplish a common goal, Darkstorm will keep you engrossed in a fast-moving and sometimes jaw-dropping plot.

The magical element is amazing as well as The Magic Field, the Well of Tears, the Circle of Convergence, and even the thanacrysts (demonic hounds that feed off the life force of a mage). M.L. Spencer’s imaginative musings are to be applauded. I cannot wait until the next novel in this series releases. Highly recommended!

Author: M.L. Spencer loves fantasy, especially favorite authors Robert Jordan, Patrick Rothfuss, George R.R. Martin, David Eddings, Neil Gaiman, Joe Ambercrombie, and Terry Goodkind. 2012 IndieReader Discovery Award for Fantasy.